Meet Our Team

We take great pride in our innovative, energetic, and devoted staff. We are committed to helping every child as they embark upon this exciting educational journey. Please contact us with any questions or concerns.

Office Staff

Leeanne Lagunas
Principal
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About Leeanne Lagunas

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Neyva Leon
Secretary
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About Neyva Leon

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Fran Kauai
Office Technician
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About Fran Kauai

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Preschool

Ariel Martinez
Teacher
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About Ariel Martinez

My name is Ariel Martinez, and I am from Yuma, Arizona. I am an alumni of Cibola High School (Go, Raiders). I received my bachelor of science in elementary/special education with an ESL endorsement. This coming school year will be my 6th year teaching. I believe all students are capable of success. Teaching is my passion because I love helping students reach their full potential. Through a positive and diverse learning environment, students will create good work habits, build positive relationships, and work collaboratively. I am looking forward to a wonderful school year.

"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." - Eleanor Roosevelt


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Kindergarten

Lucero Cerda
Teacher
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About Lucero Cerda

My name is Lucero Cerda. I grew up in Yuma, Arizona. I graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2018 and earned my bachelor’s degree in early childhood and elementary education. I am an AVID certified teacher. This is my second-year teaching. I am excited to be part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary team as a kindergarten teacher. I am sure we will all have a wonderful time! I believe children learn through meaningful experiences. I value hands-on activities, explorations, and collaboration. I love teaching to seeing growth. I believe all students are capable of success. NO EXCEPTIONS!

Children are sponges, soaking up every verbal and nonverbal interaction.” - Asa Don Brown

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Marcella Reardon
Teacher
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About Marcella Reardon

Hello! I am Marcella Reardon. I have been an educator for Yuma School District One for 22 years. It is a privilege to be a part of Dorothy Hall Elementary School’s amazing kindergarten team for the upcoming school year. I have been a skilled educator of English for many years, teaching children whose primary language is other than English. I am looking forward to learning about the AVID philosophy and implementing its strategies in the classroom. I am a Yuma native and am proud to be a part of a community that is rich in culture and history. I am committed to helping children discover their talents and become the future citizens of our community. I believe all children can succeed, NO EXCEPTIONS!

“When you see something beautiful in someone, tell them. It may take a second to say, but for them, it could last a lifetime.” - Author unknown

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Leticia Velasquez
Teacher
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About Leticia Velasquez

Hi, I am Leticia Velasquez, and I am excited to be part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary School staff. I received my bachelor’s of science in education with an endorsement in early childhood from Northern Arizona University in May 2018. This will be my second year of teaching. I am an AVID certified teacher, and I believe students can have meaningful learning experiences through collaboration and hands-on learning. I love teaching because I believe children have great potential. I am so excited to get this year started!

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” - Albert Einstein

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First Grade

Jennifer Henderson
Teacher
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About Jennifer Henderson

Hello! I am Jennifer Henderson, and I am thrilled to be a part of the new adventure at Dorothy Hall Elementary! I have been a teacher for twenty years during which time I have taught adults and children in different grades. However, I always return to first grade; it is my passion to help students become readers and develop a LOVE of reading! I believe creating an environment for young students to build a solid foundation and teaching them tools to foster their desire for learning is paramount to their future endeavors. My personal beliefs and educational vision align with the AVID mission and cohesive staff selected for this amazing, innovative school. I welcome your child into my room and look forward to working with your family!

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” - William Butler Yeats

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Evonne Newell
Teacher
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About Evonne Newell

Hi, I am Evonne Newell. I am very excited to be a part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary school staff. I have the honor of teaching first grade. I have been an educator for over thirteen years and have been with Yuma District One since 2013. I am an AVID certified teacher and believe that all students are capable of success. I think that building a sense of community in the classroom and allowing students the opportunity to collaborate is important. It is also important to help all students foster a love of learning.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” A.A Milne

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Jennifer Raitter
Teacher
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About Jennifer Raitter

Hi there! My name is Jennifer Raitter and I will be teaching first grade this year. I graduated from Northern Arizona University in May of 2020, with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a minor in early childhood education. I am an AVID certified teacher with experience as an AVID tutor. My passion is teaching students to become creative and divergent thinkers. I loved my experience as a student-teacher at Dorothy Hall Elementary school and I am very excited to begin my teaching journey here.

“One is never so tall as when one reaches down to help a child”- Unknown

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Second Grade

Rocio Bobbio
Teacher
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About Rocio Bobbio

My name is Rocio Bobbio. I am very excited to be part of the Dorothy Hall team. I will be teaching second grade and cannot wait to begin this new journey. I have been with Yuma Elementary School District One since 2015. I earned my bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University in liberal studies with an emphasis in science and my master’s degree in education from National University.

I have been a teacher for three years and have learned so much through my students, and the success of each student makes my job as a teacher so rewarding. I believe education is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone. I love challenging and supporting students to be the best they can be. I believe all students are capable of learning and being amazing. My goal is to bring that out in each one of them.

“Be the change you want to see in the world."
-- Mahatma Ghandi

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Dawn Cradic
Teacher
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About Dawn Cradic

Hi! I’m Dawn Meredith and I am excited and honored to be part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary staff. I graduated from The University of Arizona in 2014 with my bachelor’s degree in elementary education. I moved to Yuma five years ago from San Diego, and I am now going into my fifth year of teaching second grade for Yuma District One. I believe that all students should have the opportunity to succeed and believe in themselves. I believe in teaching students about the growth mindset that provides them with crucial skills to succeed throughout their educational experience. I love giving my students opportunities to collaborate and use problem-solving skills. I am also passionate about teaching my students about kindness to ensure they grow up to be empathetic, courteous, and respectful adults. I look forward to teaching and learning along with your children!

“Be somebody who makes everybody feel like a somebody.” - Kid President

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Hanna Dafoe
Teacher
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About Hanna Dafoe

Hi! My name is Hanna Dafoe and I am thrilled to be a part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary staff this upcoming school year! I graduated from ASU in May 2019 with a business communications degree and a minor in nonprofit leadership and management. The following year I continued my schooling and received a certification in elementary education. I know that teaching is my calling, and I am very excited to be starting my career at Dorothy Hall! I believe in creating a healthy and safe atmosphere for all students where they can learn in a nurturing and stimulating environment. I want my students to feel included, heard, understood, respected, and be able to come to class and feel excited to be there. I am very much looking forward to the upcoming year where we will learn and grow together!

“Knowledge will bring you the opportunity to make a difference.” - Claire Fagin

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Third Grade

Nereyda Cochran
Teacher
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About Nereyda Cochran

I am Nereyda Cochran, and I have been teaching for eight years in Yuma School District One. I have taught second grade for the majority of my teaching career and am currently a third-grade English language arts teacher. I am a Yuma native and the daughter of Spanish-speaking migrant workers. I am a proud product of public education and honored to be joining a group of wonderful and innovative teachers at Dorothy Hall Elementary School. I can’t wait to begin! I will be teaching third grade for the 2019-2020 school year. I am looking forward to learning all about the AVID philosophy and strategies and implementing them in my classroom. I am excited to meet my new students and be challenged by their learning styles. I have a flexible and diverse teaching style. I believe in student collaboration and am striving to be an innovative teacher who believes ALL students are capable of success, NO EXCEPTIONS!

“Students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” - John C. Maxwell

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Celia Venegas
Teacher
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About Celia Venegas

Hi, my name is Celia Venegas, and I am delighted to be a part of the Dorothy Hall Team for the upcoming school year! This will be my fifth year teaching third grade. I am a proud “Yuman” and product of Yuma School District One (Go Jaguars and Falcons!). I am excited to integrate AVID strategies into my innovative teaching style. In my classroom, I strive to provide a learning environment that fosters collaboration, innovation, and fun! Before I obtained a bachelor’s of science degree in special and elementary education from Northern Arizona University, I worked for 11 years as the education coordinator at the Boys and Girls Club of Yuma. When I am not teaching, you can find me practicing softball with my daughter or volunteering at community events with my Optimist Club. I look forward to meeting all of the wonderful third-grade scholars who walk into my classroom and impress on them that they are capable of success, NO EXCEPTIONS!

“Believe there is good in the world.” - Anonymous

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Fourth and Fifth Grades

Carla Brewer
Teacher
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About Carla Brewer

Hello there! My name is Carla Brewer, and I am excited to be a part of Dorothy Hall Elementary school this year. I have a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Northern Arizona University, and I am excited for my first group of Innovators. I am thrilled to be teaching fourth and fifth grade English and language arts (ELA) this school year. I am passionate about education, and I believe that every student deserves the best learning environment and experience while in school. Not only do I want my students to grow academically, but individually as well. There is so much for every student to accomplish, and I am dedicated to help any student do just that. Most importantly, I believe that all kids are capable of success! Hero up!

“Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” - Aristotle

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Laura Danford
Teacher
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About Laura Danford

Hello, I’m Laura Danford. I’m honored to be a part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary school staff. I’ve been an educator for over nine years and have been with Yuma District One since 2012. I am so excited to teach fourth and fifth-grade science this year. I am passionate about personalized learning and student choice in the classroom. I am AVID certified and encourage student innovation through collaborative and hands-on learning. I believe that all students are capable of success.

I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples. - Mother Teresa

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Penny Doten
Teacher
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About Penny Doten

My name is Penny Doten. I’m so excited to be a part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary School staff. I’ve been teaching in Yuma School District One for 26 years, with a focus in math. I welcome the opportunity to teach fourth and fifth-grade math for the 2019-2020 school year. As an AVID certified teacher, I am committed to using strategies that will help all students become college and career ready. I believe all kids are capable of success and know that with a strong team of students, parents, and educators, we will create a positive and successful school year!

“You never fail until you stop trying.” - Albert Einstein

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Melanny Navarro-Rodriguez
Teacher
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About Melanny Navarro-Rodriguez

Hello, I am Melanny Navarro. I am honored and thrilled to be a part of the Dorothy Hall Elementary school staff. I am so excited to teach fourth and fifth-grade English and language arts (ELA) for the 2019-2020 school year. This will be such an exciting journey at a brand new school, with brand new ideas, innovative methods, and where our instruction will be shaped to match each child’s needs. One of the things I am most excited about is that Dorothy Hall will be an AVID school! I have been working with AVID for years, and I truly believe its philosophy is effective in preparing our kids for college, careers, and life. I believe that the skills necessary to be successful in college should be taught in elementary school because every child is capable of being college and career ready. All children are capable of success, NO EXCEPTIONS!

“Don’t wait for opportunity...Create it."

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Special Area Teachers

Amy Olson
Music Teacher
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About Amy Olson

Hi, I am Amy Olson. I’m excited to teach general music at Dorothy Hall Elementary. I received my bachelor of music in music education from the University of Arizona in 2004. I have been a part of the Yuma Elementary School District One since 2013. I currently hold the position as principal bassoonist of the Yuma Civic Orchestra. I have been playing the bassoon for over 20 years. My goal is to instill a lifelong love of music in every child.

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” - Plato

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Megan Sanchez
P.E. Teacher
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About Megan Sanchez

My name is Megan Sanchez. I grew up in Yuma, AZ where I attended Arizona Western College and continued my education at Arizona State University to earn a bachelor's degree in physical education. I have been a physical education teacher for Yuma District One for four years and I am excited to begin my fifth year of teaching. This will be my first year with Dorothy Hall Elementary and I look forward to working with a great staff and continue working with the AVID program. I am committed to helping students understand the importance of physical fitness, physical activity, and how they can build on their team-building skills and acceptance of others.

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.”

- John F. Kennedy

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Jose Dorame
Art Teacher
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About Jose Dorame

Hi. My name is Jose Dorame, and I am excited to be a new addition to the Dorothy Hall team. I have been teaching in Yuma School District One for 20 years now. I graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor of fine arts in art education. I am excited to be the new art teacher and to foster the creativity within every child. I am a lifelong learner and wish to instill the importance of art education in everyone.

“I am still learning.” - Michelangelo

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Support Staff

Carol Bickford
School Counselor
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About Carol Bickford

Hi! My name is Carol Bickford, and I am very much looking forward to a fantastic year as the counselor at Dorothy Hall Elementary School.

I started out in education as a 5th-grade teacher and then a middle school English teacher prior to earning my Masters in Education Degree in school counseling at NAU Yuma. After my graduation, I also served as an adjunct professor in the School Counseling Program here at NAU. I have participated in Kids at Hope for a number of years, and I have received training in the AVID Program and Capturing Kids’ Hearts.

I do believe that all children are capable of success, and I believe that it is my role, as a school counselor, to help them along that road to a successful future! I work with students both individually and in groups to promote academic motivation in addition to addressing other important areas such as developing a growth mindset, self-regulation of behaviors, and, basically, just believing in oneself. It is my goal to be available to every student and family that I may be able to help, either personally or by guidance to the appropriate outside sources.

Please never hesitate to reach out.

Thank you for the privilege!

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” Anthony Robbins

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Guadalupe Garcia-Ortiz
K-5 Autism Teacher
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About Guadalupe Garcia-Ortiz

My name is Guadalupe Garcia-Ortiz I am proud to say I am Yuma native! I grew up in the Yuma School District # 1 school system. I am so happy to be back here working in the same community in which I grew up and live. I went to Mary A. Otondo Elementary School, Woodard Junior High, Yuma High, AWC. I am a first-generation NAU/Yuma University graduate. I am married to a teacher, his name is Eden, we have a puppy named Sasha. Both of our families live here in Yuma. We are both first-generation college graduates from migrant families and Yuma grown. Proud to be from Yuma!

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McKenzie May
Resource Teacher
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About McKenzie May

Hello! My name is McKenzie May. I am beyond thrilled to be joining the Dorothy Hall Elementary team! This is my fourth year of teaching. I moved to Yuma from Kansas to begin my teaching career with Yuma School District One in 2016. I received my bachelors of art education with an emphasis in ceramics from the University of Kansas in 2015. I am currently pursuing a master’s of special education from Northern Arizona University. As an educator, I have had the opportunity to focus on building strengths such as empathizing with my students while maintaining productivity and a positive environment. I strive to foster understanding in my classroom in order to expand the knowledge base of my students as well as nurture their emotional needs. I feel comfortable taking on the role of both student and teacher and am able to challenge my students and myself to be the best we can–in and out of the classroom.

“One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world.” - Malala Yousafzai

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